No. 5 Women's Gymnastics To Host No. 2 UCLA
Jan. 15, 2001
This week's action
Stanford, ranked No. 5 in the Jan. 15 GymInfo national rankings, will host No. 2 and defending national champion UCLA on Friday, Jan. 19 at Maples Pavilion. The 2001 home opener will feature five gymnasts who competed in the 2000 Summer Olympics. Three Bruins - Kristen Maloney, Jamie Dantzcher and Alyssa Beckerman (alternate) - were members of the fourth-place American squad in Sydney, while UCLA's Yvonne Tousek and Stanford's own Lise Lï¿½veillï¿½ were teammates on the Canadian team.
The Cook File
Stanford head coach Mark Cook is now in his fourth year at the helm of the Cardinal women's gymnastics program. In his first three seasons, Cook has guided Stanford to the 1998 Pac-10 Championship and an apperance in the 1999 NCAA Championships. Cook has produced the Card's first-ever individual National Champion, three Regional Champions and seven All-Americans, while Stanford gymnasts have established nearly every school record under his tenure.
A Super Start
Stanford opened the 2001 season in impressive fashion, taking third place - just 5/100ths behind - at the prestigious Super Six Challenge in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. No. 5 Alabama and No. 2 Georgia shared the meet title with a score of 195.300, barely edging out the 195.300 posted by the Cardinal. All six teams at the meet were ranked in the Top 10 of the GymInfo Preseason Coaches' Poll, as Stanford defeated No. 3 Michigan (194.475), No. 10 Florida (194.425) and No. 9 Penn State (193.275). As a team, the Cardinal took second on both vault and bars, finished third on beam and tied for fifth on floor.
A Cardinal Tint to the National Rankings
Stanford enters its second meet of the 2001 season ranked No. 5 in the country with a high score of 195.300. The Cardinal, which has improved two spots from its No. 7 preseason ranking, also ranks in the top 5 in three of the four events: third on vault (48.825), tied for fifth on bars (49.075) and fifth on beam (48.775). Individually, Stanford gymnasts can be found throughout the national rankings. Senior Jen Exaltacion is tied for 21st in the country in the all-around, freshman Robin Phelps ranks 13th on vault, freshman Lise Lï¿½veillï¿½ is tied for 17th on beam, while fellow rookie Lindsay Wing is nationally ranked in three events: beam (17th), vault (22nd) and all-around (21st).
No Easy Task
The 2001 schedule is a grueling one, as Stanford will face 12 teams ranked in the Preseason Top 20, including five in the season-opening Super Six Challenge. All five of the Cardinal's home opponents were ranked prior to the season - No. 1 UCLA, No. 18 Minnesota, No. 11 Arizona State, No. 12 Oregon State and No. 15 Brigham Young. On the road, the Cardinal will battle No. 16 Washington and No. 20 Arizona as well as BYU. Stanford travels to Berkeley on Feb. 18 to face California, who began the season unranked but has since moved into the top 25 (No. 24).
In order to advance in the NCAA postseason, Stanford will have to battle through one of the toughest women's gymnastics conferences in the country. Although the 2001 season is only two weeks old, all seven Pac-10 schools that compete in women's gymnastics have been ranked in the GymInfo Top 25. Defending champion UCLA, currently No. 2, began the year in the top spot, followed by Stanford, No. 11 Arizona State, No. 12 Oregon State, No, 16 Washington and No. 20 Arizona. While Arizona State, Oregon State and Arizona all fell out of the top 25 in the first regular season ranking, the one school that was unranked in the preseason - California - checked in at No. 24.
All-around competitor Jen Exaltacion is the lone senior on the 2001 squad, and the two-time All-American began her final year with a bang. In the Super Six Challenge, featuring some of the nation's top gymnasts, Exaltacion finished in a tie for fourth in the all-around with a 38.950 mark. She scored no lower than 9.700 and took tenth on beam at 9.775.
Stanford's heralded freshman class made an immediate impact in Tuscalossa, as the five rookies combined for a pair of individual titles and a fourth-place finish in the all-around competition at the Super Six Challenge. Lindsay Wing captured a share of the individual beam title with a 9.850 and finished sixth on vault, propelling her to a tie with teammate Jen Exaltacion for fourth place in the all-around. 2000 Canadian Olympian Lise Lï¿½veillï¿½ tallied a 9.850 in all three of her events - beam (tied with Wing and two others for first), floor (seventh) and bars (seventh). Two other Cardinal frosh competed in the all-around, as Robin Phelps finished twelfth (38.550) after placing third on vault and eighth on bars, while Caroline Flurher enjoyed an eighth-place finish on bars and a tenth-place mark on vault to finish 18th in the all-around (38.200).
Passing the Bar
Stanford posted its best event score on bars at the Super Six Challenge, finishing second with a 49.075 mark as four Cardinal gymnasts scored a 9.800 or better. Lise Lï¿½veille led the way with a seventh-place finish at 9.850, while fellow freshmen Caroline Flurher and Robin Phelps each had a 9.825. Junior Kristen Jensen took a positive step towards regaining her 1999 All-American status with a solid 9.800 score.
Vaulting Over the Competition
If the first meet is any indication, then the Stanford vaulting corps is ready to take its place amongst the nation's elite. Led by freshmen Robin Phelps, who finished third at the Super Six Challenge, and Lindsay Wing, who placed sixth, the Cardinal scored a 48.825 at Tuscaloosa to give it the No. 3 national ranking.
Stanford, the eighth-best beam squad in the country last year, placed third on the event at the Super Six Challenge. Returners Jen Exaltacion and Katy Herbert notched a 9.775 and 9.700, respectively. A pair of Cardinal newcomers - Lise Lï¿½veillï¿½ and Lindsay Wing - each scored a 9.850 to share the individual event title with Georgia's Kristi Lichey and Michigan's Karina Senior.
Stanford struggled on the floor exercise at the Super Six Challenge, as the Cardinal placed in a tie for fifth with a 48.625 mark. Although Lise Lï¿½veillï¿½ finished in a tie for seventh (9.850), only one other Cardinal finished in the top 25, as Shelly Goldberg placed 14th with a 9.800 score.
An All-American Trio
Stanford features a pair of returning All-Americans in junior Katy Herbert and junior Jennifer Exaltacion. With a 9.863 performance on beam at the 2000 NCAA Championships, Herbert placed third and earned First Team All-America accolades. Exaltacion was named to the Second Team on beam and in the all-around with 9.85 and 39.225 scores, respectively. Junior Kristen Jensen is just one year removed from her 1999 First Team All-America performance on bars.